ERIC Number: EJ720329
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005
Reference Count: 26
Ethnic and Civic Conceptions of the Nation in Ukraine's History Textbooks
Janmaat, Jan Germen
European Education, v37 n3 p20-37 Fall 2005
This article examines the image of the nation in the history textbooks of post-Soviet Ukraine. Ukraine is an interesting case as it is the second most populous Soviet successor state--48 million inhabitants according to the 2001 census--and harbors a population with a complicated ethnolinguistic structure. This demographic portrait differs from that of other post-Soviet states in that a substantial part of the titular nation (ethnic Ukrainians) became "russified" during the Soviet era. Consequently, ethnic and linguistic cleavages do not coincide: whereas ethnic Ukrainians and ethnic Russians make up 78 percent and 18 percent of the population respectively, the Ukrainian- and Russian-speaking communities constitute roughly equal halves. The question is how the authorities are trying to carve a unifying national identity out of this potentially divisive Soviet legacy. The analysis focuses on history textbooks as history provides the architects of nation building with an almost infinite source of raw material from which historical myths and narratives can be extracted that underpin and justify a nationalist discourse. Selection and interpretation of events are the key activities in this process. This paper starts with an examination of the origins of the ethnic-civic dichotomy and explains how it can inform the analysis of history textbooks. The second and third sections discuss indications of civic and ethnic visions of the nation, respectively. The last section summarizes and interprets the main findings and offers some tentative predictions.
Descriptors: Foreign Countries, Textbooks, Nationalism, History Instruction, Ethnic Groups, Social Change, Textbook Content, Content Analysis, Civics
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Publication Type: Information Analyses; Journal Articles
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Ukraine